Archive | April, 2012

Ready or Not?

12 Apr

So, I tired writing my post last night…and fell asleep. Then I was determined to write it this morning…and didn’t wake up in time. Now at this point, things have the potential of getting very ugly. I start to panic, feel like I have failed, and the pressure to write becomes too much to bear. I was definitely headed down that path, until it hit me – I am supposed to enjoy this! That simple thought allowed me the freedom to do this: post a link!! It is not what I intended to do, but it is what I am doing…and now that I feel the freedom to, I am doing it with great delight.

So here you are. I found this on Thabiti Anyabwile’s blog and have watched it several times over. It is called Ready or Not? and it is spoken word/theatre portraying Christ and His Bride. Enjoy…

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2011/11/24/ready-or-not/

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This Made Me Laugh

11 Apr

Here is a video that made me laugh really hard. Hope you guys enjoy it.

What I’m Reading

10 Apr

Happy end of the Easter long weekend to you all!

Over the past few years, since I became a wife and mom, I have found myself hungry for resources to use to help me learn about my new vocation. Any new employee needs to be taught and trained, and the same goes for being a wife and mother. I think it’s easy to assume that once you get married or have a baby things will just come naturally. But there’s really a lot we don’t know that we need to become knowledgable about! If foundationally we begin with the knowledge that God has a high calling for women, and places specific responsibilities on all of us, single, married, mothers, widows, then we must want to firstly go to his word to find guidance, and then to good resources that can help us grow and learn more about what God has called us to do in our specific role.

I thought I’d share a few links to relevant books, sites, and videos that have been a tremendous source of encouragement, challenge, and help to me over the past few years. This week I’ll begin with my library.

Devotionally:

The Valley of Vision: A collection of puritan prayers. This is a MUST for any believer, not just women. The language that these writers employ is so powerful, so biblical, and so encouraging. I use this to help me direct my thoughts in my prayers.

Morning & Evening by Charles Spurgeon: This daily devotional has a short passage for morning and evening, and if you’ve never read Spurgeon, again, this is a must. He is called the Prince of Preachers for a reason. His ability to show the way God’s word shines from so many angles is unbelievable and I find that reading these short pieces is such a blessing to my day.

On Marriage:

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace: This was huge for me this past few months. There is a ton of helpful guidance and relevant scripture that Mrs. Peace uses to help wives understand God’s role for them. The chapters on the heart, submission, and the home were particularly helpful for me, but this is one book I would read and re-read. It’s written in a very accessible way and she uses helpful charts and images to convey ideas.

On the Home:

The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edit Schaeffer:

Georgie bought this as a gift for me last year and it’s fantastic! If you start to read and feel like she’s suggesting things like making your own furniture, building a rocking horse for your child, or baking homemade rolls every week, and you start to feel a bit ill because it just seems so, I don’t know, archaic? Don’t quit! This book was the eye-opener that enabled me to start thinking grander thoughts about what the home could be, if you opened your mind and heart to all the possibilities. The suggestions and ideas are very practical and very creative. Maybe I’ll never get to accomplish all of them (don’t think I can manage the rocking horse), but even if I take some grains out of this one, it’ll have been worth it. There’s a call to all women in this book that calls us to revisit an art that really has been neglected.

Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper:

This little book is a quick read but one that will help inform the “why” behind celebrating and tradition. If the Gospel must inform every area of life, then we must think through why we celebrate things like Christmas and Easter and birthdays, and how those special occasions are to be used to point us to the Savior.

On Motherhood:

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic:

I think this was my favourite read of the year! If you haven’t read anything from the Femina girls, you need to. Rachel blogs along with her mother, sister, and sister-in-law, and I have been hugely blessed and taught from their writing. This little booklet is a collection of short pieces that are so insightful. Her giftedness at using metaphors and images to help her own children understand God’s truth, are so helpful to me as well. I found myself laughing out loud at her stories, and just being plain encouraged by all the ways which it is evident that God’s grace flows through the hands of struggling mothers and parents, who are not the wisest, or most organized, or most creative. He has a plan and purpose for mothers and embracing it wholeheartedly will bring God glory, will bring you joy, and will bless others.

Building Her House by Nancy Wilson: Nancy Wilson’s short collection of essays is excellent. Again, this is a book I’ll read and read again. I so appreciated all of the commonsensical wisdom. Chapters like “Mac & Cheese”, “The Postpartum Mother”, and “Mother-in-law” are examples of topics that she approaches from a fresh and very helpful perspective.


That’s enough reading material for now! Next week I’ll follow up with sermons I’ve been listening to that have also helped me in these areas. Have a great week and go on and buy some of those books and get reading! Any other suggestions of good reads? I’d love to hear what’s in your library.

Why I Love the Cross

6 Apr

Nothing you read on this blog today can ever compare to reading the actual account of Jesus’ death on the cross.  I really encourage you to stop and take some time to read John 19 which outlines the sentencing of Jesus to death, his crucifixion, and his burial. Read it slowly, as though for the first time. May the story grip our hearts anew, filling us with wonder and awe at the incomparable price paid by our Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope you will allow me to take time today to reflect on some of the reasons why I love the cross. May it encourage you to also reflect on the meaning of the cross and the impact that it has had on your own life.

As a child I had a very guilty conscience.  I felt guilty for things that I did wrong, and the things that I thought I may have done wrong by accident. I was painfully aware that sin was serious, and I had this secret fear that if people found out what a sinner I was that they wouldn’t love me anymore.

As I grew older my feelings of guilt intensified, and I began to develop methods to cope with the heavy weight of my sins. I tried everything. I would tell myself it wasn’t that bad and to just get over it. When that didn’t work I’d try to be really good – that would only last a few days. I would punish myself by giving up things that I loved, but eventually I found I was running out of things to give up. I even tried making promises to God to atone for my sins. Nothing worked. In fact, the more I tried to relieve my guilt, the more unworthy and inadequate I felt. All of my efforts remind me of the words that God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah:

“Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder,

   the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign LORD.“ Jeremiah 2:22

The world has its own repertoire of “tactics” to deal with feelings of guilt. In fact if you google “how to deal with guilt” you’ll be amazed at some of the empty suggestions you will find. Here are just a few:

  • “Find a color to inspire your guilt-free existence: red for energy to combat guilt, green to heal from your guilty emotions, blue to spiritually soar above them, orange to cheerfully express yourself, yellow to use your intellect to reason your guilt away. Wear this color daily (doesn’t have to be anything big, even a ribbon is fine) and put it in your personal space to remind you.” (Dr. Debbie Mandell  http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art28129.asp)
  • “The first step in overcoming guilt is seeing what value have you violated, and find a way to convince your subconscious mind that you wont do this again.” (www.2knowmyself.com)
  • “The best antidote to feelings of guilt is to focus on the good things we are now doing. Whatever has happened in the past, there is always some positive contribution that anyone can start making now. If we throw ourselves into helpful, selfless activities, how can we retain feelings of guilt?” (Tejvan Pettinger     http://www.srichinmoybio.co.uk/blog/life/overcoming-persistent-guilt/)

All of these strategies have one thing in common. They are useless. They will never atone for sin, and they will never cleanse the conscience.

And Here is What I Love About The Cross

My battle with sin and guilt ultimately led me to the cross. The message of the cross did not say “don’t worry, at least you tried, make up for it next time.” On the contrary, it declares the terrible news that yes indeed I am a sinner. My guilt is not just a feeling, but a reality. But more than that the cross declares that the guilt of all those who would turn to Christ has been atoned for. Forgiveness is available, and I can be freed from my guilty standing before God.  I finally came to understand the Good News for what it is –  reeeeally good news for a reeeeally needy soul. I understood that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:7

I love the cross of Christ because it provides sufficient payment for my sins… no other atonement or punishment is needed. I love the cross because it brings me forgiveness from a Holy God. I love the cross because it separates me from the guilt that plagues my soul and brings me peace with God. I love the cross because it saves my soul.

This is Good Good news. And this is why it truly is Good Friday.

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[a] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:23-24

Musical Interlude

5 Apr

I will return to my post on Helen Roseveare next week, but I have been really blessed by a couple of songs this week. One is this rendition of the hymn Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah which was written by William Williams in the 18th century, have a listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6Odk49ZvD4&feature=autoplay&list=PL92111C83A031DA27&lf=mh_lolz&playnext=1

The other is a rendition of Anne Steels hymn Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul, which was also written in the 18th century (I wonder if they knew each other?). Have a listen to that one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIwRiDym3Xc&feature=autoplay&list=PL92111C83A031DA27&lf=mh_lolz&playnext=2

Enjoy!

Chasing Birds

4 Apr

I should’ve included my dog in my intro post because I think I’ll refer to him in a few posts. He is a Golden Retriever/Lab mix and he’s almost 5 months old now. He’s full of energy, and he’s the best.

My dog and I go for walks every day, and in the midst of those walks he manages to incorporate sudden bursts of sprinting. Our sprints usually last a few seconds until herealises that he is not going to catch the bird he’s chasing. You’d think he’d learn his lesson and just stop chasing birds, but with every bird he sees it’s as if it’s a brand new experience for him, and maybe this time he’ll bring home the prize. Together, he and I have chased countless birds and have never even come close to one of them. Every time he loses one, he looks back at me with disappointment in his eyes as if to blame me for slowing him down. Maybe he’s right, maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s simply the fact that birds have wings and we don’t. I look forward to the day that the little guy learns to stop chasing the birds and just enjoy the walk.

We do that sometimes too, don’t we? We live our lives chasing after pointless things that will never truly satisfy us. God has blessed us with so many things for our enjoyment, but we have a tendency to get distracted and start chasing after one or a few of these things and forget to focus on the things that really matter. 1 John 2:15-17 explains the exact point I’m trying to make,

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

I pray that we would not give in to our urge to chase after things that are passing away, and instead, stay focused on our journey home.

The God of Nahum

3 Apr

I’ve been battling with fear a lot in recent weeks so I’d thought I’d share a bit of what the Lord has been teaching me and reminding me of, over the next few posts. This has been a consistent battle for me in my life and I wrote about the Lord’s grace to me through it, in a post on my old blog, several years ago. I thought I’d just start this topic off by sharing that experience with you.

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Since I was a little girl I have struggled with fear. I still do now but to a different degree, and it has only seemed to intensify with the birth of my daughters. I’m not usually afraid during the day, but as soon as I lay my head on my pillow at night, I am plagued by fears, worries and anxiety. It is most always about evils in the world, and vivid imaginings of anything happening to my girls. Sometimes it gets bad enough that I need to wake my husband.

Well last night was no exception and I started to worry, but thankfully I was able to pray and sleep overwhelmed me quite quickly. I awoke this morning to read my Bible and I was completely blessed by my God, the God of Nahum.

In this book Nahum prophesied about God’s imminent judgement on Nineveh as they refused to repent. Known for the cruelty with which they treated other nations, God would now punish them and Judah could rejoice for this notorious people was about to fall. In the final verse of this book, after God has destroyed them, Nahum writes to the Ninevites, “There is no easing your hurt; your wound is grievous. All who hear the news about you clap their hands over you. For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil.”

Now, my thoughts were neither novel nor profound, but I met with my God this morning and he gave me much comfort, and much to cling to for hope.

As I read of God’s intense anger and vengeance and wrath against Nineveh, I was so quickly and humbly reminded once again that God hates wickedness and evil more than I do. God destroyed this nation because of their evil, because he hated it! Nineveh was cruel and unrepentant and this fact did not go unnoticed by God. They seemed to prosper for a time, but God was still sovereign and God would not let them continue in their ways.

So often when I lay awake at night, my flesh tells me the lie that if God hated the evils in this world as much as me, he would not allow them at all. But when I read Scripture I see clearly that this is not the case, but is in fact quite the opposite. I may not know all the details and intricacies of God’s sovereign will, nor understand why he works the way that he does, but I know that he is good, and he loves goodness and kindness, and hates sin and iniquity.

In the first chapter of Nahum, when God’s wrath and anger are being depicted, his goodness and slowness to anger are also woven right into this picture. His anger at sin and his goodness are not separated, but are so uniquely intertwined:

“The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.” (Nahum 1:2-3)

God’s ways are good and he is for those who take refuge in him (Nahum 1:7). By God’s grace, when I lay down to sleep tonight, the words of the Psalmist will comfort me,

“Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (Psalm 46: 2-3).